Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: When did you get your first tattoo and what was it? Did it take a lot of time until you decided to get it done?
Artem: I was 18 when I got my first tattoo and it was a microphone. This step was deliberate, and it just coincided with my move from a small provincial city to a larger one - Kharkiv. It was at that moment that I decided for myself that I want to devote my whole life with music.
RoD: How many tattoos do you have now? Could you tell the stories about your tattoos?
Artem: Oh, to be honest, I don’t even know the exact number of tattoos on my body. They are difficult to calculate as most of my tattoos are paintings. I have two “sleeves”, and these are integral elements of, let’s say, my “eternal clothing”. I put a very deep meaning in them. Each of the “sleeves” characterizes me and reflects the worldview. The left hand, in connection with the images on it, I call “reincarnation”. And on the right are my totem animals - a red deer and a more cosmic - he-goat. There are also two super-small tattoos. One of them I did just for fun, and I decided not to remove or cover it. Maybe I’ll do it in the future. From seeing it I have very positive memories coming up - associations with my first huge tour with one of my first bands. It was called “Dance party. Dance! Dance!”. In the middle of the tour, the guys from the band decided to get identical tattoos for themselves as a keepsake.
There is another iconic tattoo, which is smaller, it is the element on my thumb on my right hand. It’s connected with my album story; albums are all dedicated to different elements. We have already released four albums (‘Ocean’, ‘The Elements of Water’, ‘The Elements of Fire’, ‘Earthly’) and thus they were about three elements. The next element is air. In the end, we’ll complete this with the fifth element. This will be the completion of our quintology of the elements. Therefore, I decided to perpetuate this important part of my story on my body. Also, one of the tattoos-this is the owl- reflect something sacred. Next to it is a deer and a number of certain signs that are close to me and represent my view of life.
RoD: Have you gotten all the tattoos you wanted?
Artem: I don’t think I’ve finished. When I’m asked in the interviews if I have an amulet, necklace or other esoteric thing that protect me, I always answer that I have my tattoos. These elements on my body shield and protect me from all kinds of external influences. And not only external.
RoD: Who are the tattoo artists that tattooed you? How do you find the artist? And who made the sketches?
Artem: My tattoos are made only by one and only artist, Roma Byaz (https://www.instagram.com/romanbyazarty). He is an incredibly talented person and tattoo artist. And I’m glad that he is perfect. Roma is from Kharkiv, and now, just like me, lives in Kyiv. I like his style, approach, ideology and attitude to the world. We are broadcasting a lot. To create a specific vector for his work.
RoD: Getting tattooed hurts, how do you cope with the pain during the sessions?
Artem: To begin with, each person has his own pain threshold. For example, the same place can cause different sensations in different people. For someone it’s just unpleasant, for someone is hurts, but someone will not feel pain at all. If we talk about me coping with this pain, I just try not to pay attention to it. I can say with confidence that this is possible thanks to my artist with great experience. During the session, we often talk with him, listen to music, have discussions. Doing this, time flies fast. Therefore, I can give one piece of advice: during the session, try to get distracted and switch to some other thing (listening to music, talking, reading news on the Internet, etc.), then the session will pass fast and the process will not be so painful.
RoD: Do you regret getting tattooed sometimes?
Artem: Yes, there was such a moment. These are tattoos I got when I was 18 - I was covering them up with others. At that time, I was making tattoos that, it seems to me, did not make sense. First of all, because all my social circle (friends and guys from the band) was getting inked and I fell under this influence too. But I am very glad that I was able to stop in time, rethink and later change these tattoos without removing them. Many of my friends, in order to get a new tattoo on the body, had to remove the old ones. Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised by Roma’s skill. He was able to save me from unnecessary sessions for “drawings” removal from the body and from wasting time on them. For me it was a really nice bonus. My artist is a tattoo guru!
RoD: What is your taboo in terms of tattoos? What kind of tattoo would you never get done and don’t like to see on other people?
Artem: I would never get tattoos or sketches on my body that I randomly saw while scrolling feed on the internet. All my tattoos are exclusive. I am pleased to feel that my body is “clothing”, which is in only one instance. But if we talk about some styles that I like, I can’t name a specific one. I can like any style - depending on the work itself, from the artist, whether it is an old school or a trash polka, it doesn’t matter. Oriental, Japanese culture is close to me. Polynesia. That is why most of my tattoos are associated with this, but, again, with interspersed realism. But every time we create new sketches, we experiment.
RoD: It is said that it is addictive to get a tattoo. Once you’ve started it, you can’t stop. How do you see that?
Artem: Maybe it’s true. I remember seeing huge tattoos, like whole pictures on canvas. It really attracted me. At that moment I realized if in the future I put tattoos on my body, they would definitely be voluminous and make up a holistic story. If we talk about global things, I always think ahead, as in my music, in albums. I have been building the concept of elements for several years. My first album was called ‘Ocean’, the second ‘The Element of Water’, the third is connected with the elements of fire, and then we continue with the elements of earth, air, and soon we will come closer to the “fifth element”. I like to plan - this also applies to tattoos. That is why I decided that my body would be at least 30% covered with tattoos.
RoD: Now a little bit about fashion and trend... at the moment tattoos are really in. Many people don’t associate their tattoos with anything and use ready sketches. I feel sorry for the tattoo artists because they are turning from artists into producers of mass goods. What do you think about it?
Artem: I am really sceptical about such things. Tattoo is a conscious step. And if you decide on it, you must understand that this “clothing” will stay with you for a long time. Maybe only with the exception of some small tattoos. What I really still can’t understand is face-tattoo. These are the names of some films, series, emotions on their faces. For me, this is unacceptable and I just don’t get it. As I said, I think that all the tattoos on our body should make sense, be thoughtful and conscious.
RoD: There is another social aspect to tattooing - that tattooed people and tattoos are antisocial. Do you deal with these prejudices?
Artem: Now we can often meet people of all sorts of employment with tattoos. They successfully work in various professional fields. It seems to me that people nowadays are no longer judging the rest by appearance. For this, I believe, we can thank our parents, who from early childhood teach us that all people are equal. I am happy that people are becoming more conscious. Let’s keep it that way.
RoD: Which advice would you give to people who are going to get their first tattoo? How to choose a tattoo artist? Colour or black and white? Any practical advice?
Artem: My main advice is to take balanced decisions and thoughtful actions. From my own experience I can say that the desire to “paint” the body is just a fleeting sensation. And every sane person should be aware that this "beautiful clothing" is there for the rest of his/her life.
Official pages of Artem Pivovarov: https://artempivovarov.com / www.facebook.com/pivovarovofficial /www.youtube.com/user/ArtReyPivovarov /www.instagram.com/pivovarovmusic
Photos provided by the press service of the artist.
Project by Daria Tessa and Daniela Vorndran, Interview by Daria Tessa & Iryna Kalenska
Translation by Ira Titova
Russian version of the interview you can find here: https://gothic.com.ua/Interviews/4436.html